My father used to call my mother by one of two names: Sue or Daig.
Daig was short for Dago. Back in their times, when they were young kids, people called Italians they liked Daig. Then one day I read that some members of the New York Yankees used to call Joe DiMaggio Daig. I was very put out about that. That’s Ma’s name, I said to myself.
I couldn’t figure out why Daddy-o would call her Sue or Daig when her name clearly was Ma.
I would come to learn, of course, that there are hundreds of millions of Mas in the world. But I only had one.
And she’s gone.
My brother Joey was driving to the hospice this evening when he got the phone call. You know, the phone call.
She’d only been there a couple of hours. Somehow I’d figured she wouldn’t survive the trip.
We’d been making arrangements to move her from the hospital to a skilled care facility the last couple of days. We’d found a nice one. She would move within the next few days.
Then Joey got a call early this morning. The doctors said she wouldn’t need a skilled care facility. She’d need a hospice. They didn’t need to say anything more.
So she was moved by ambulance late this afternoon. I was right. She didn’t survive the ride. Not by much, at least.
The good thing is, she’d been out of her misery since last night. The docs had been pumping her full of morphine. They’d disconnected everything else. They let her go.
Now I have to let her go.
Wherever she is — if anywhere — it’s better than the place she’s been in the last few months.
She had a good long life. Now I’ve got to make sure I make her proud.
She’d always said to me, You’re gonna make us proud, Mike. She’d even say that when I was bound and determined not to make her proud. Mothers are funny that way.
Sue Glab, 1921-2014